Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Cuisine and culture, sample-sized

Cuisine and culture, sample-sized

By Tom Stieghorst
*InsightA cruise is a great way to try a lot of things in a short time, and usually not as good for experiencing something in depth.

I was reminded of this on a recent cruise in the Mediterranean aboard the Celebrity Silhouette.

The sampling starts upon boarding in the ship’s buffet, Oceanview Cafe. I made a point of trying the Indian food, something I’m not served at home and rarely eat at a restaurant. A spoon of this, a dollop of that and I was on my way.

For dessert, I choose from several trays of cookies, brownies, ice creams, puddings, cream puffs, cakes, pies and tarts. Most were small, or I could choose the portion size, so I could try two or three at each meal.
*TomStieghorst

The concept goes beyond food. I heard and saw entertainers that I wouldn’t seek out or likely pay for at home, including the Sin City comedy/burlesque show that Celebrity has adapted from Las Vegas.

I’m not well versed in modern art, but over the course of a seven-day cruise I probably spent half an hour looking at and reading about the ship’s collection. It wasn’t like a visit to an art museum, but it may inspire me to go.

I read parts of four books from the ship’s library and finished none of them.

My wife and I made friends with couples from Germany, England and Spain over end-of-the-day drinks, but I don’t think they’ll be lasting relationships.

Nowhere is the sampler concept more evident than in the destinations that we visited. At our favorite port of call, we were in Greece for about six hours. Part of it was consumed by a quick taxi ride across the island to a nice beach, where we spent about two hours.

After a taxi back to the main town, we did a little pre-dinner shopping and sought out a restaurant we’d read about. We only had a little time for exploring after dinner and then it was back to the ship.

We are dying to return, feeling like we could have spent six days, not six hours.

It was a wonderful cruise but, alas, it was not an immersive experience of Greece. However, in addition to two stops in Greece, we visited Italy, Croatia and Turkey in the course of a seven-night trip. It was a great sampler of that part of the world and not easy to do as seamlessly any other way.